Leadership Development: Tales of an Ironman 70.3

Nov 8, 2023

By Rocío Durán, Entrepreneur & Executive Coach, Rocio Life Coach

Developing Yourself and Showing the Journey is the Real Deal

People love to give advice without truly understanding the challenge. With 29 years of experience as a psychologist, life coach, and athlete, I’m always exploring how I can deepen my understanding of the profound connections between discomfort, pain, stress, clarity, power, strength, and pride.

To take my own practice and leadership to the next level, I decided to take on one of the world’s most difficult athletic challenges. I decided to complete the Ironman.

Through training for and competing in 70.3 miles of running, biking, and swimming, I have discovered 10 profound connections that can guide leaders from moving from fear to reaching their goals.

1. Create the image and set the goal. As a leader, setting a goal and drawing on past experiences help clarify strengths and areas for growth. I started looking at videos of the Ironman 70.3 to have an idea of what I was getting myself into.

2. Make yourself accountable. I declared my commitment to run the 70.3 Boulder Ironman, making it a commitment with witnesses like my husband and son. This inspired my husband to join me in the race. Involving others makes the journey more enjoyable and reinforces commitment. Sharing your dreams with others is essential as a leader it helps fostering support and passion among teammates while keeping you accountable.

3. Learn to face your fears. Open-water swimming was a new challenge for me, and I had to confront my fears head-on. Despite panic attacks and challenging circumstances, I learned to push through the race. Leaders must confront their fears and keep going.

4. Set a plan and stay sharp. Training daily became non-negotiable. Leaders must lead by example and show commitment to their team. Stay curious and continue learning, even in areas where you are already experienced.

5. Get a coach. If the dream is big and is worth your time and effort, seek a coach who can push you beyond your limits and hold you accountable. A coach can help you explore your potential and challenge limiting beliefs.

6. Learn from setbacks. Falling down is part of the journey. I fell from my bike going downhill on Highway 36 during training. The scars are a reminder of how painful following a dream can be. But they are also reminders of how resilient we can be.

7. Challenge limiting beliefs. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who understand your journey. Seek mentors, retreats, and a life coach to help you challenge and overcome limiting beliefs.

8. Remember your why. When facing challenges, remind yourself why you started. Understanding your purpose will keep you motivated and focused.

9. No plan B. Even in the face of failure or hardships, stay committed to your goals. Change the path if needed, but not the goal itself.

10. And finally, embrace discomfort. Leaders must be comfortable with discomfort, as growth happens outside the comfort zone.

As I reflect on finishing the Ironman 70.3 race, I am reminded that the essence of leadership development lies in personal growth and leading by example. These skills resonate with my experiences at the Latino Leadership Institute and continue to shape my work with Latina leaders and entrepreneurs. By embodying these principles, I strive to empower my clients and inspire them to embrace their own leadership journeys. Ultimately, leading with passion is challenging, but the feeling of triumph is priceless.


About Rocío Durán
Entrepreneur, executive coach, inventor, and multicultural connector, Rocio is a bilingual Community Psychologist passionate about connecting cultures and transforming lives and companies. Learn more about Rocio Duran here.

Rocio is a graduate of the Latino Leadership Institute.